I retired 10 years ago after a long career as a research scientist for Agriculture Canada. When I was on the payroll, I was the designated scientist of my institute to address public groups and reassure them that genetically engineered crops and foods were safe. There is, however, a growing body of scientific research – done mostly in Europe, Russia, and other countries – showing that diets containing engineered corn or soya cause serious health problems in laboratory mice and rats. I don’t know if I was passionate about it but I was knowledgeable. I defended the side of technological advance, of science and progress.
I have in the last 10 years changed my position. I started paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe, some from prestigious labs and published in prestigious scientific journals, that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food.
I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.
There are a number of scientific studies that have been done for Monsanto by universities in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Most of these studies are concerned with the field performance of the engineered crops, and of course they find GMOs safe for the environment and therefore safe to eat.
Individuals should be encouraged to make their decisions on food safety based on scientific evidence and personal choice, not on emotion or the personal opinions of others.
We should all take these studies seriously and demand that government agencies replicate them rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies.
The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.
There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.
These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.
Genetic engineering is 40 years old. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene – one protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong.
The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding. Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic.
I have drafted a reply to Paul Horgen’s letter to the Comox Valley Environmental Council. It is my wish that it goes viral as to educate as many people as possible rapidly. Any and all social media is fine by me. This can also be used as a briefing note for the councillors of AVICC or anywhere else. Thank you for your help.
Shop GMO-Free In The UK
The only app for the GM status of thousands of foods in the UK
We’re the first to bring out an app containing the GM status of more than 10,000 foods sold in UK supermarkets, Shop GMO-Free in the UK, which you can download for free here!
With the Shop GMO-Free app at your fingertips, you’ll be able to join with us, to ‘persuade’ food manufacturers to help us regain our food sovereignty, to use our right to decide what sorts of foods they should be supplying us with, in a language they can understand. In other words, we can vote with our shopping baskets!
With this app, it couldn’t be easier – it’s the no hassle way to buy foods for yourself and your family that are guaranteed by their manufacturers to be free from GMOs and from products from animals fed on GMO feed.
With our Shop GMO-Free in the UK app on your phone, you will have the power to vote with your shopping basket about what sort of food you and your family will eat.
It worked in Germany, where meat and dairy producers are now being required to feed their cattle with GM-free feed again, when shoppers refused to buy the other kind. (See How to get British supermarkets to return to GM-free meat and dairy).
It’s also been making a difference for shoppers in America, where big food companies are being forced to remove GM ingredients from their products because customers are gradually refusing to buy them. (See Record numbers of US companies switching to non-GMO seeds and GMOs facing downturn on world market).
With huge international trade deals like TTIP being hammered out in private rooms, well away from the democratic process and public accountability, the only leverage we have is in our consumer power. (See The lies behind the EU’s transatlantic trade deal and Secret emails reveal how UK ministers plotted with GM lobbyists to bring GM foods into the UK.)
We hope that our app will make a huge difference… by giving everyone the information they need to make the choices that are best for them and their families.